German politicians were divided on Sunday over a warning by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff that restrictions for unvaccinated people may be necessary if Covid-19 infection numbers reach new heights in coming months.
Chief of staff Helge Braun told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag that he did not expect another lockdown in Germany.
But Mr Braun said unvaccinated people might be barred from venues such as restaurants, cinemas or sports stadiums “because the residual risk is too high".
He said being inoculated was important to protect against severe disease and “vaccinated people will definitely have more freedoms than unvaccinated people.”
Mr Braun said such policies would be legal because “the state has the responsibility to protect the health of its citizens".
His comments fuelled a debate in Germany, even within Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats Party, about possible vaccination requirements.
The party's candidate to replace Mrs Merkel as Germany’s leader, Armin Laschet, said he opposed any formal or informal vaccine requirements for now.